Spiritual Side Colin Noonan

Thanksgiving is moving up on my list.

Year after year my appreciation grows for that famous Thursday in November. While the Fourth of July used to be one of my favorites, I’m always finding new reasons to appreciate the excuse to overeat with family and friends. Sorry Uncle Sam — Turkey Day takes the silver medal.

Is it a close second to Christmas? Maybe not a CLOSE second. In my opinion, Jesus’ birthday will always be the Usain Bolt of annual holidays. Year after year, nothing seems to come close to beating Him out for that top spot (Jesus — not the Jamaican sprinter).

But late November never seems to disappoint. The weather is in full shift, pumpkin spice is still on the menu at your local coffee spot, and the holiday season is kicking off with a day filled with food, family, and football.

I’ll go out on a limb and guess that my family is not the only one that shares what they’re thankful for when we sit down for dinner. It’s usually a short list that focuses on the people or things that are closest to us. I’ve been noticing, though, that there’s always something new or different every year to add to the list. Just as we are always changing, so is our appreciation for the things and people around us.

Here’s my annual Top 10 look at what I’m most thankful for this year:

1. I’m thankful for my wonderful family. Without great parents and brothers who have set the bar high, I’m not who I am today.

2. I’m thankful for my iPhone. Too materialistic? Maybe. But my phone has reminded me, kept me connected, and given me countless opportunities to learn, reach out, and stay in touch with friends and family all over the country. It’s my lifeline.

3. I’m thankful that my identity is not wrapped up in what I do — but what has been done FOR me (Romans 6:4-7).

4. I’m thankful for friends who love me in spite of my arrogance, selfishness, and inability to return phone calls or texts in a timely matter.

5. I’m thankful for the people and staff at Mountain View Lutheran Church who have allowed me to lead, learn, create, and make mistakes in my last three years of ministry.

6. I’m thankful I have never participated in a Black Friday event. To this day, my streak continues. I never understood why people line up and trample each other at Wal-Mart for discounts, hours after they celebrated what they were thankful for.

7. I’m thankful for coach (Curt) Cicotte — a man who I’ve had the chance to reconnect with this year. Our lunches, his courage, and his heart to see people know Jesus has been so refreshing. God continues to use him in my life.

8. I’m thankful for Urban Meyer being in Columbus. 10-0 (possibly 11-0 as you’re reading this).

9. I’m thankful for my new Leadership Coaching Network — a room full of eight guys who I can learn from, vent to, and encourage in our different seasons of ministry.

10. And last but not least, I’m thankful for the gift that the Ahwatukee Foothills News has been in allowing me to share my thoughts with thousands of people in the Ahwatukee Foothills community.

I wonder sometimes what our world would look be like if we lived every day as thankful as we are in front of that turkey and stuffing. One day just doesn’t seem to be enough to stop and give authentic thanks for what we’ve been given or experienced. Unfortunately, many of us may lose the opportunity to share how thankful we are for that person — that friend — that loved one.

Who (or what) are you thankful for this year? Whether it’s a short list, a Top 10, or one simple thing, take the time this year to make it known to those who may need to hear it the most.

Now, let’s eat.

• Colin Noonan serves as the director of Youth Ministries at Mountain View Lutheran Church in Ahwatukee Foothills. Share with him what you’re thankful for this year at cnoonan@mvlutheran.org.

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